Braille does a lot with just six dots...numbers, punctuation, math, music, and a set of standard contractions (known as grade 2 Braille) to save space. There's an even more contracted
form (grade 3), too.
Braille, as a Business
Our own salute to that special and hardy breed of entrepreneur who wants to start a Braille business at home in A Braille Romance.
Braille Chocolate Bars
Choco-Braille Braille greetings (readable from the outside of the box) are available for all holidays,
in the form of five-ounce Choco-Braille bars. Choose several kinds of chocolate, with or without nuts, packaged with or without music, and even with or without sugar. Or give a hefty two-pound
Chocolate Guide Dog. Shepherds or Labs are rendered in sufficient detail to need a harness (OK, it's optional) in milk, dark, or white chocolate (regular or sugar free).
- Braille Fonts Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been collecting those hard to find Braille and ASL
fonts---including fonts for the Mac!
- Download Braille True Type Fonts from Duxbury Systems. Use for Braille highlights and examples in print documents and Web pages,
make tactile "Braille" with heat image processors like the Tactile Image Enhancer, or teach Braille to sighted students.
- American Braille Basics Check out this handy page from Duxbury Systems for tips on how to help your translator help
you make your Braille pages look as though they were professionally prepared.
- Braille Formats The ultimate rules for Braille transcriptionists are only a link away in this on-line version of BANA's Braille Formats,
maintained by Shodor Education Foundation.
- Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind Braillewriter Collection The story, with color photographs, of over thirty
different Braille and other tactile writing machines, many over one hundred years old, from the Museum's collection. A must-see exhibit for history buffs and people interested in the evolution of
access technology. If you're going to be in the Louisville, Kentucky area, visit the museum itself, which is open from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through
- How Braille Began We wouldn't be here making embossers today if it weren't for a story that, if it happened now, could be headlined "BLIND TEEN
INVENTS SUPERCODE FROM OLD DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY." We have a tremendous interest in this topic (for obvious reasons) and this page just keeps growing and growing.
- "War of the Dots" Earlier in this century, there were several versions of tactile writing in the United States--and many people were forced to
learn them all just to have something to read. The tortuous and politicized process of hammering out today's grade 2, as told by Robert Irwin in the first chapter of his book As I Saw It, is
something every Braille reader should be able to know...and The New York Institute for Special Education has it on their Web site, as well as a complete history of reading codes for the blind.
- Braille, the Magic Wand of the Blind by Helen Keller, from the American Foundation for the Blind Web site. A wonderful and
- Pamela Lorimer's Thesis on the History of Braille The full title is A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF
THE TACTILE MODES OF READING AND AN ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF RESEARCHES CARRIED OUT IN ENDEAVOURS TO MAKE THE BRAILLE CODE EASIER TO READ AND TO WRITE but by any name this doctoral thesis from
the International Braille Research Center Resource Library is a must-read for those interested in the history of Braille. Can also be downloaded
as zipped text files.
- Braille Through Remote Learning Yes, you can learn Braille completely on-line (even all the contractions)!
- Hadley School for the Blind Talk about an idea that whose time has come! Hadley School's longtime distance education mission is a
perfect fit for the Net. Finish high school, get an overview of the organizations of blind consumers, learn skills (not the least of which, sadly, is advocacy) to help your visually impaired child,
and (of course) learn Braille!
- Dancing Dots Want music in Braille? You'll love this! Bill McCann is the author of GOODFEEL Braille music software...for all versions of Windows. That's
right--Braille music from computer files. Also, check out the Braille Music Reading Course.
- Opus Technologies is a must-see site for those who are serious about Braille music. Opus sells the definitive guides to reading and transcribing
Braille music in several formats, as well as Braille fonts for Windows.
Braille Authority of North America BANA establishes the rules for all the different Braille codes and formats--literary, music, computer,
mathematical, and textbook--so they're as clear, readable, and easy to produce as possible. Did you know there are 23,000 certified Braillists in the US today?
National Braille Press National Braille Press has added even more useful and interesting
features following a recent redesign of their website. Sign up to be notified via e-mail of new book releases, browse the free downloads section or shop for books in a variety of formats.
Braille, for Parents of Blind Children
- Special Education Links for Visually Impaired Children There's nothing simple about finding the right educational experience for your
child today. Between home schooling, residential schools and everything in the middle, it's bewildering. This site from Mississippi State University can help, because information about all the
possibilities is contained on one tidy page. Many of the state schools for the blind have Web sites now, and they're here, too.
We make the equipment to make Braille, but places to get Braille books and magazines in ready-to-read form also abound on the Web. Here's a few:
- Braille-Books.Com Get a variety of Braille or cassette books at reasonable prices for readers of all ages and interests. Braille-Books.com
also does custom transcribing, including business cards.
- Louis from APH APH has a huge on-line database, Louis, which lets you search for accessible materials (Braille, disk, large print, and
Braille music) located anywhere. Also from APH: Braille Bits. Editor Eleanor Pester at APH for the Blind has a theory about why really fast Braille
readers often use two hands!
- Louis Braille Center Books about Braille itself--both Louis Braille and the writing system he devised--as well as inspirational, literary and
- National Braille Press Oodles of up-to-date titles, a wide range of subjects, and reasonable prices makes this one terrific catalog. Books on disc,
Braille labeling materials, and other good stuff, too.
- Seedlings Braille Books for Children Seedlings produces and sells over 300 low-cost Braille books for children in the critical Braille-mastery
years between 1 to 14. Includes classics like Charlotte's Web and The Cat in the Hat, as well as popular series including The Babysitters' Club and Goosebumps. A
must-visit site for parents and grandparents interested in helping young Braille readers find more fun (and get more practice) in reading.
- Triangle Braille Services Gay and lesbian literature in Braille, including an on-line catalog and links to other resources.
Braille Resources for Teachers
- brl-help Sign up for a discussion list open to anyone interested in promoting excellence in Braille instruction. Share successful
strategies, get answers to questions, and learn how to find resources and materials, as well as sign up for other blindness-related lists.
- Teaching Math to Visually Impaired Students Are you among the many who still have post-traumatic flashbacks from 8th grade algebra? Then you've never had
a math teacher like Susan Osterhaus. She has actually received letters (reproduced on the site) begging her to start a math camp for numerically-impaired adults. Not only does she share many
highlights from her nearly 20 years' experience teaching secondary math at the Texas School for the Blind, she tracks down lots of cool math items (like a Braille and print protractor). Download a
computer-based Nemeth tutor here, as well.
- Free from Duxbury! Duxbury Systems just redesigned their web site and added many new and formerly for-sale products as free downloads. Get
an even larger range of Braille fonts for Windows as well as EDGAR, an editor that turns your screen into a Braille "page" and your keyboard into a six-key Perkins emulator. Brand new is Perky Duck,
a new computer-based Perkins emulator designed for Internet distance Braille education. Can be used for local Braille entry on your computer, too--just save and emboss the results.
Advance Corporation Braille-Tac Division manufactures architecturally designed interior/exterior way-finding sign systems and standard & custom ADA compliant signs.
Judy Dixon's Collection of Braille and Tactile-writing Slates Fascinating look at a huge collection of the most basic and still
indispensible Braille-writing technology from all over the world. Slates are still evolving because computers can't replace them, any more than
they replace pencils for sighted people.
Braille, Tactile Writing Systems Other Than
Moon Type in the UK is the sole survivor of the tactile codes competing with Braille in the nineteenth century. We were fascinated to learn that we and Braille International are
not the only publishing enterprises for the blind to originate in a seaside resort location. Dr. William Moon lived and worked in Brighton, England, where today they're proud of their connection to
the Moon Printing Works (now part of the RNIB). Dr. Moon was a blind pastor of remarkable energy and eloquence, and these wonderful pages often read just like a novel.
- The Moon Pages by Diane Fazackerly
- William Moon from the Brighton Society for the Blind.
- dotlessbraille.org Many print readers find Braille so challenging that they invent a variant alphabet or representation to make it easier in a visual
way that makes sense to them. Braille readers and experienced teachers and proofreaders would undoubtedly vote for the plain old original six-dot, but the thinking process behind a new variant gives
Braille Teaching Aids
- Tack-Tiles® Tack-Tiles® Braille Systems are little blocks of Braille characters, interchangeable with standard LEGO®-type blocks.
Braille students of any age and their families, Braille teachers, and friends can have fun while learning and communicating in Braille. Kevin Murphy developed Tack-Tiles® for his own son, who
learned Braille almost effortlessly this way after a frustrating struggle with conventional teaching methods.
Braille Translation Software for Your Computer
If you have a computer, a translator is the only software you need to begin publishing in Braille. Duxbury Systems, now also home to
Megadots, has made Braille translation software for IBM and Apple computers their entire business for many years. They are well-known for first-rate support and continuing innovation. Their Web site,
loaded with wonderful resources, reflects the same thoughtful approach.
Braille Transcription & Publishing
Need Braille right away? Check out these specialists who can produce Braille and other accessible media:
BraillePlus BraillePlus of Salem, Oregon, consults on accessibility issues
and produces alternative format text and graphics. "How to's" and good
background articles on the Braille production field are especially helpful to Braille newbies.
- Access-usa.com Access-usa does all kinds of alternative media from Braille in several languages to audio to captioning.
Check out the Braille puzzles.
- Braille Enterprises Based in Abingdon, Maryland, Braille Enterprises specializes in Braille and large print menus for the hospitality industry, as
well as general Braille documents, business cards and greeting cards.
- Braille-It Get an e-mail quote from Maureen in Minnesota for a Braille project you may not have the time, equipment or inclination to do yourself.
- ghbraille.com Based in West Lafayette, Indiana, ghbraille does Braille translation (including college science and math textbooks), accessible HTML, and
- Techadapt Complete Braille transcription services, plus text markup for Open eBook, Daisy-2, or other XML-based formats (as well as HTML). Keep
up with the rapidly-evolving world of epublishing standards with Tech-Adapt's tidy and all-inclusive links to major ebook
Braille Writer (as in "Perkins") Where to Find
Perkins Brailler from Perkins Products. Visit their website for complete information on the latest versions of Perkins Braillers.
Now available in cool new colors!
Braille Writer (as in "Perkins") Repair
- Braillerman Stop procrastinating and get that Perky fixed NOW! Alan Ackley (a certified transcriber) of Ackley Appliance Service in Des Moines, Iowa,
is Braillerman--now found at the easy-to-remember URL www.braillerman.com. Send him e-mail right now at email@example.com to find out more or
visit the web site. Braillerman has worked on over 2,000 Perkins Braillers, many probably in worse shape than yours. His site includes cool wallpaper of the exploded prints of a Perky and neat
stories about the people (inventor David Abraham and repairmeister Leon Murphy) who have been
key to making and maintaining 250,000 (that's a quarter million) Perkins Braillers to churn out the dots worldwide.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
has a great list of Braillewriter repair sources.
Got two minutes? Learn the basics of Braille at "Braille: It's Easier Than You Think"